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Northwest Flight 188 Pilots Will Not Get Their Jobs Back

One Has Retired, The Other "No Longer Employed" By The Airline

The two pilots who said they were distracted by their laptop computers and a discussion over airline scheduling will not be returning to a Delta cockpit, the airline said Tuesday.

Both veteran pilot Timothy Cheney and  Richard Cole had their pilot certificates revoked by the FAA almost immediately following the incident last year in which they overflew their intended destination of Minneapolis by about 100 miles. They contested the revocations, and eventually signed an agreement with the FAA which at least left the door open to them returning to the cockpit.

But The Wall Street Journal reports that Delta, which absorbed Northwest in a merger, said Tuesday that Mr. Cheney, who had been the captain on the flight, had taken retirement rather than try to seek reinstatement with the airline. Mr. Cole, who was the first officer on flight 188, declined the retirement offer. A spokesman said he "is no longer employed" by the airline, but offered no other explanation.

The flight has become a frequent example in FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt's speeches about pilot professionalism, and caused lawmakers to move to prevent pilots on U.S. airliners from using electronic devices while taxiing or flying.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.delta.com

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